Santa Clara Edges Pepperdine 3-1 in WCC Opener
Sept. 19, 2013
MALIBU, Calif. – Despite a 22 dig night out of setter Becca Strehlow, the Pepperdine women’s volleyball team was unable to overcome a relentless Santa Clara squad and lost 3-1 (25-21, 27-29, 25-23, 25-23).
The Waves (6-3, 0-1 WCC) hit a respectable .214 (60 kills-26 errors-159 attempts) behind Strehlow’s (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS) 42 assists. The Broncos one-uped that number with a .265 (65-20-170) hitting percentage.
Samantha Cash (San Diego, Calif./Canyon Crest Academy) posted eight blocks, marking the fifth-straight match she’s tallied seven roofs her more. She entered the match with a 1.52 blocks per set average, ranking in at 12th in the NCAA. With eight blocks tonight, the junior has bumped up her average to 1.58.
Jillian Bergeson (Friendswood, Texas/Friendswood HS) made her second start of the season, but first at the libero position. The freshman easily established a new career high with 20 digs. Even more impressive, she was just one assist shy of a double-double and finished the night with nine helpers.
Three Pepperdine players reached double figures in kills, led by Katie Messing (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands HS) with 17. Taylor Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS) and Kelley Larsen (Jamul, Calif./Christian HS) followed with 15 and 12, respectively.
Megan Anders stared for the Broncos (6-4, 1-0 WCC), nailing down 18 kills while hitting .486 (18-1-35). She was one of four Santa Clara hitters to end the night with double-digit kill totals.
The match was a bitter battle all evening long with 46 ties and 19 lead changes.
Both squads battled fiercely in the opening set. The Waves built a 12-8 lead, only to see the Broncos shave the gap down to one, 12-11. The Broncos went ahead 17-15, and extended the lead by three 18-21 after a set of Pepperdine attack errors. Nina Matthies called for a timeout, which successfully iced the server but SCU maintained its control and went on to win 25-21.
The competition continued to heat up in set two. Santa Clara led early, 5-2, but the Waves eventual overcame the deficit with a 4-0 run – which included two Cash-Strehlow blocks -- to emerge on top 14-11. The Broncos went up yet again, and eventually took set point, 24-23. A clutch kill by Cash knotted the score up and Santa Clara would take two more set points only to see Pepperdine kill them off one by one. Back-to-back Messing put aways gave the Waves their first set point and the junior would eventually clinch the frame 29-27 with an ace.
Santa Clara controlled the offensive rhythm in the pivotal third set, despite a late Pepperdine push that knotted the score at 22. Nikki Hess laced through a pair of kills before Anders secured the stanza 25-23.
It was an all-out point-for-point battle in the fourth. Neither team was able to build a lead of more than a point or two before watching the scoreboard read even moments later. With Pepperdine up 23-22, the Broncos came through with a block that swung the momentum in the visiting team’s direction. Santa Clara scored two of the next three points to put the match away 25-23.
The Waves look to redeem themselves on Saturday, Sept. 21 when they tangle with San Francisco at 1 p.m. inside Firestone Fieldhouse. Fans can watch the match live and for free on WavesCasts with Josh Perigo calling all the action courtside.